Creating a smarter swaddle with Hindi Zeidman through her company The Ollie World

Hindi Zeidman_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

It all started with an amazing infant named Oliver. I was a single foster parent and he was my foster son. When he came to me he was on the verge of being labeled failure-to-thrive because he struggled with the basics of eating and sleeping. He was also exposed in-utero to drugs, so he was truly having such a hard time. With my background in working with drug and trauma exposed infants, I knew the importance of swaddling. I bought every swaddle on the market and nothing worked for him. They did not contain him or his joints properly, he overheated, and he escaped them all. So, I set out to make my own and one that could meet all of Oliver’s needs. And, that is how I created the very first Ollie Swaddle. Once Oliver started using it, I saw such a dramatic change with his eating, sleeping, developmental milestones, and attachment. My goal has always been to have a positive impact in the lives of little ones.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

My father ran his own business, so I saw a lot growing up and “business owner” was never a pathway I intended on walking down. It wasn’t until I was a single foster parent raising an infant that things changed for me. It was truly seeing the change in Oliver, my foster son. I saw him being able to settle for this first time in his life and to be able to do such things as take a bottle, sleep, or just be able to make eye contact, all of which he struggled to do prior. Seeing those changes in him was what inspired me to share the swaddle with little ones all over the world.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I was a social worker, with a specialty in infant mental health.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

When I look back to me as a child, I can see that I was always trying to invent something or sell something. I used to keep “potions” under the sink because I thought they were some magic cure for something (sorry mom). So, I guess, deep down, I always wanted to create something for the world.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

I launched the business with absolutely no plan. I thought people would see my belief in the product and that would be enough. It wasn’t. Please don’t get me wrong, the belief is what kept me going when every single person told me “no”, but it didn’t sell anything for me. I did cold calls, appointments with stores and buyers, trade shows, and no one would give me the time of day. Everyone said I could never compete with the larger swaddle brands. It wasn’t until I turned to social media, specifically Instagram, that moms gave me a chance.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I could write a book about the mistakes I have made. And, please know, the years in business don’t take away the mistakes; I just now make different ones. I am currently in one of the most challenging times of my career. I made a decision to reject several orders of fabric because they failed my spec. I care so much about the quality, integrity, and safety of every product we make, so the decision was an easy one. The result has been an extended time of being out of stock, as we make up for the failed fabric. As you can imagine, it is not easy to run a business without inventory, but there is no doubt in my mind that I did what was right.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

There will never be a time when I am not affected by someone sending a DM, comment, or email about how The Ollie has impacted their and their little one’s lives. That is what motivates me to keep going. I have one particular story that I think about all of the time, if I can please share with you:

I would love to introduce you to Ray, who is an almost 3 month old amazing little boy. I cannot show his picture because he is a foster infant, but I would still love to paint a picture. Ray is living with his foster-to-adopt mom and they were both having a hard time. Ray could not be soothed, their attachment was struggling, and his foster-mom was exhausted. Ray was being seen at SART, which is a local center that provides a trans-disciplinary team approach to address and support drug and/or trauma exposed infants and children from ages 0-5. We donate ollies to all SART centers and Ray received his ollie in the clinic, where he was being seen. Immediately, right after wrapping Ray in his ollie, he calmed. With tears in her eyes, his foster-mom said she had never seen him stop moving and they had their FIRST eye-to-eye contact. Ray’s foster-mom said, “Since using the swaddle and learning what you are teaching me, he has begun to grow and is sleeping and learning new skills. You and The Ollie saved my life, I was so sleep deprived. Thank you.”

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I love to ask people how they set boundaries when it comes to work and how they “leave work at work”. It is so important for people to not take the mental load of “work” into the home environment. So, I want to encourage and support people in having, setting, and keeping healthy boundaries. 

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We’ve all been and continue to be affected by the pandemic. It has changed everything about what businesses look like and how we conduct business. As we adjust, I anticipate a definite increase in entrepreneurship, not only because we have more ways to connect and reach people through social media, but also as a means of survival as certain job fields or even companies no longer exist. I think how we survive is the question everyone is trying to answer. I don’t have the answer, but I truly believe running a business has to be more about just selling a product; it has to be more about how we connect with people and how we give back to our communities.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Whether that be through new products, donations, working with hospitals, or founding our own non-profit, my hope is to continue to have a positive impact in the lives of little ones all over the world.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

The journey to become a mom and then actually becoming a mom, all while running a business was something that took a toll on me both mentally and physically. I learned about my capacity to keep going, even when everything looks and feels hopeless. 

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Let go. I read that one of the ways entrepreneurs can fail is by having a lack of ability to let go and delegate responsibilities. That has always resonated so strongly with me. There was a time that I was running the entire business on my own. I did every single job because that was what needed to be done. As we grew, I had to be cognizant of my time and honoring the incredible capable people I worked with to be able to do their work.

Pick your team. I work with great people. They are great and they inspire me to be better. They believe in what we do, they believe in our products, and they believe in my vision. I am committed to them, as they are committed to me. We not only walk through the hard times together, but we celebrate the wins too. Pick the people who are going to walk beside you through it all.

Don’t forget to look at the big picture. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the daily tasks and you can get too narrow of a vision because of that. Always make time to dream. Always make time to look at the big picture, which should encompass your greatest hopes and visions.

Give back. There is always a capacity to give. I made a commitment that when I started the company, I would always donate swaddles. Even when I had no sales, I donated. Always find a way to give of yourself and give to others.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I don’t feel that I am very grounded. Probably not the right answer, but it is my truth. The world is a hard place to be, we are isolated, we have no outlets… It is so hard to be grounded. Now, what keeps me going is my love for my daughter and my love for the work I do, but I do that as a non-grounded single mom.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Very similar to the question above, yes, I believe in it, but am I currently practicing? No. I understand the importance of that ideal of creating balance; it is just not plausible for me in my life right now. I would love to achieve it one day, so please feel free to send me your best tips.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I am a single mom by choice to an amazing miracle rainbow little one, named Olive Steele.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Get out of bed. That may sound simple, but it can be so hard some days. Getting out of bed is the first step and should be seen as a huge accomplishment. 

Make lists. I love lists. I love being able to cross something out because it has been completed. I will even do old school lists on paper with a pen because it feels so good to be able to cross it out. 

Don’t be afraid to allow someone to help hold you accountable. Sometimes I need to share a goal or deadline with someone else, so they can help hold me accountable.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Our foundation is rooted in the foster community, so giving back and bringing awareness is a huge part of what we do. We have always donated Ollies to foster infants who are drug and/or trauma exposed throughout our community. And, recently, we created a program to donate children’s masks to foster children. We were seeing that because of the pandemic, people were not willing to open their homes up to foster children, so they were left vulnerable and without a safe place to stay. We were inspired to create masks specifically for them, in the hopes they had their own sense of protection and security, and also with the hope that people would now be more apt to open their homes.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Founder Geisha Garcia on the Evolution of GG Communications

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Geisha Garcia is the Founder of GG Communications, LLC—a digital marketing agency dedicated to elevating the digital presence of ambitious female-led brands through proven digital marketing strategies, as well as advancing the profession of social media through mentorship and education of social media professionals. What…

Cecile Rothschild on the Importance of Family and Close Relationships while Launching Your Own Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Create and Associates is a branding, communications, and design firm. With boundless creativity, imagination, and a dedication to strategic thinking, we build brands that cut through the clutter—and unlock success for my clients. We bring together emotion, art, and rigor to design brand experiences that…

Melissa Wallace, CEO and Co-Founder, on Balance, Trust, and Celebration

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I am the CEO and Co-founder of fivefoottwo marketing, an agency dedicated to early-stage, VC-backed startups. When launching fivefoottwo, we were meeting so many female founders who needed our services but struggled to receive funding. So we started giving them our services for free, which…

Contemporary Artist and Small Business Owner, Leah Devora, on Following Your Instinct

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I created original, custom art with a contemporary edge for businesses and private clients. My site showcases my art. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? Meeting dynamic, interesting, and creative women and building a support network. What made you take the leap…

LEO + LAINE’s Lynzee Krohne’s Tips for Teamwork and Embracing all Aspects of your Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Lynzee is the CEO and Founder of LEO + LAINE, and also serves as the Lead Creative Director. In her role, Lynzee manages the day-to-day business operations, and also works closely with the team to strategize, ideate and develop content for local and national clients.…

Kim Bennett of AtlasGuru on Building a Business based on Her Passion and Past Skillset

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: AtlasGuru is a publishing platform for travelers to share their itineraries and travel stories. Before starting AtlasGuru, I spent 15+ years in marketing in New York City and Seattle for lifestyle and consumer companies including Conde Nast, Martha Stewart, Amazon, and Nordstrom. What excites you…

Devika Chand Dandona on Sucess having a Strong Voice while Starting The Devi Collection

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m a wife, mom of 3 humans and 2 fur babies, and am an all-around creative. I have an investment company that focuses on brands and startups. My current portfolio has brands in the clean beauty, sustainable fashion, tech, and wellness spaces. I have been…

How Coach and Consultant Sarai Tave’s Personal Healing Journey Sparked Moonlight Devi

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: My name is Sarai Tave. I am 35 years old, a single mom, and the owner of Moonlight Devi and The Singles Network by Moonlight Devi. I am a singles and couples coach, image consultant, and Thetahealing therapist. I help single people break thru their…

Decorating Dream’s Midge Fuller’s Desire to “Go All In” on Her Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I am an interior designer, and I launched Decorating Dreams, which will help my clients see the potential in their homes by guiding them through the process. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am excited to work with Entreprenista because I…

Work-Life Balance and Scaling Your Business with Marketing-Led Business Coach Katrina Aronson

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Katrina Aronson is THE Marketing-Led Business Coach, blending her background in small business marketing and psychology to help creative business owners to get out of their way and see massive shifts. With simple and scalable marketing strategies as her super power, she has grown two…

Fintech Queen, Heather Doyle of CoinQueens, on How to Manage Expectations and Crypto Empowerment

What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am excited to connect with women who have had success in web2. I hope to onboard and empower them in web3 through education, investing, and networking. Women are typically not the leading demographic in nascent fintech markets, and CoinQueens is determined to change that in…

CoFounder of ExExperts, T.H. Irwin, on the Importance of Focus and Goal-Setting

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: My best friend and I divorced at the same time (drama and cheating ex-husbands), and we had one another leading up to it, during the process, and for everything after. We started the “exEXPERTS and Divorce etc…” podcast to help people in the same way…

Ex-Corporate Ad Pro Kaitlin Villatoro Highlights her Decisions and Insights around Diving into a New Entrepreneurial Path

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m an ex-corporate ad pro, with 11 years of working with top Fortune 500 brands like Apple, Disney, and Corona. Motivated by the desire to be more present for my family and a demanding IVF journey, I left my corporate career to start my own…

Former Fortune 200 Executive, Chris Holter, on the Importance of Welcoming Personal Transformation when Launching your Own Business

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: Hello – I am Chris – A former global fortune 200 Executive turned lifestyle entrepreneur, trusted advisor, international speaker, and executive coach. I founded Chris Holter Consulting in 2020. I know firsthand what it is like to be building a business, the challenges you face,…

Beauty and Fragrance Consultant Emilie Mascarell on leveraging past experiences to launch your dream line

Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business: I’m a fragrance and beauty product development consultant. I launched Emilie Consulting to help companies develop fragrances, candles, and skin care products including product strategy, sourcing, formula and packaging development, testing, vendors relationship, negotiations, production support, and everything until release on the market. What excites…